July 30, 2011

pro·cras·ti·na·tion

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Procrastination is defined as, "to put off till another day or time; to defer; to delay." I'm pretty sure that every member of the human race has, at some time or another, procrastinated. Something about avoiding doing the stuff we need to is just so damn attractive. Charlie McDonnell explains the scientific aspect of procrastination in this video (go to 1:47 for the good stuff). Procrastination is actually a battle in our brain between being productive and well, avoiding being productive. Countless times my thought pattern has gone along the lines of, "I should really start that assignment" and "Oh, I suppose a few more episodes of One Tree Hill couldn't hurt." In that battle, the latter wins nearly all the time.
It can depend a lot on our personality. Some people always leave things til the last minute because they need an approaching deadline to push them, while others get things done in advance because that is what works for them. I'm a bit of a fence sitter in this regard. I by far prefer to get things done beforehand, so I think that's my natural inclination - yet I am lazy and often leave things til the last minute because frankly, I find better things to do with my time. My head is regularly on the hunt for stimulation, and when my schoolwork offers no motivation, books, Twitter, Facebook, television shows and sometimes even sleep is more enthralling. Procrastination feels so naughty, addictive and wonderful all at the same time. And there's nothing wrong with that.
I think procrastination is important because sometimes our brain just needs a break. That's why we get lunch breaks - our brain can just not work flat out for eight hours straight. Yet when we are completely unproductive and achieve nothing due to procrastination, well, that’s just a bit silly. I’m in the middle of the mid-year exam period at the moment and am exempt from classes to have ‘study time’. From what I’ve seen on Facebook, not a whole lot of people are actually studying. I’m just as guilty of this, but I always study in the end, with at least 24 hours advance. If I don’t study I get stressed, and no one likes the stress monster.
So I have a proposal, which applies to me as well. Get your crap done. It’s as simple as sitting down and starting. It’s not the easiest thing to do but once you start, it’s an incredible amount easier. Think of it this way, as soon as you’ve got your crap done, then you’ll have free time to spend on Facebook or watch One Tree Hill or have a nap. And you’ll have no guilt because you’re not procrastinating. You’re rewarding.

July 13, 2011

the final HP

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I'm not the biggest fan of the Harry Potter movies, but I love the books. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is one of my favourite books of all time and I'm so glad they made it into two movies. Part 1 was fairly good considering the first half of the book is quite slow - but I was far more excited for part 2. I went to see it at midnight yesterday (well today technically) and I was hoping I would not be disappointed. There was so much I was relying on to be in there, and by the end of it I was rather impressed. The sequence of events surrounding the battle of Hogwarts is quite emotional and I still cry when I read the book. I was holding high expectations for part 2.

I haven't read Deathly Hallows in a while so forgive me if my detail is wrong, but the movie was so close to the book. Incredibly. Things were inevitably missed as they always are, but I was so impressed that it matched my favourite book. I loved Snape in the opening scene, that facial expression said so much. The break in at Gringotts, along with Griphook's involvement, were done quite well (how cool would the trolley ride be at a theme park?!) Aberforth was as bitter as he was meant to be and the scene when Harry, Ron and Hermione first arrived in the Room of Requirement was lovely, like Hogwarts was normal for a while. Neville is usually a character who gets sidelined, and in this he just totally kicked ass. His speech to Voldemort and everyone else made me cry and it's so cool that he's no longer the awkward kid with a remembrall. One of the major things I was relying on was when Molly Weasley screams "Not my daughter you bitch!" at Bellatrix and that bit did not disappoint. I was definitely going to have words with David Yates if that wasn't in there.

I change my opinions on favourite characters all the time but I really like Ginny in the books. It frustrates me in the movies because she's so less fierce and strong and brave than she should be. The revelation of the truth behind Snape was done so well. Probably my pick for the best thing in the movie was Snape's last moments - except it was in the wrong location. There was such a different side to the Professor Snape we know when he said, "You have your mother's eyes." That scene, along with his memories, which were done brilliantly, added such heart and authenticity to the movie. Part 2 is the most serious of all the Harry Potter films, but I loved that it was still humourous. Ron had some great one-liners (even though it missed the great one from the book's epilogue) and other similar jokes helped diffuse the tension.

Most ridiculous was Voldemort's hug of Draco which is just to odd/funny to even talk about! I'm glad that Harry still saved Draco from the fiend fyre in the Room of Requirement, but what was with the new, very unfamiliar Crabbe? It annoyed me when Luna didn't take Harry to Ravenclaw Tower, because in the book that's when we see McGonagall kick the Carrow’s butt, and let’s face it, that would have been awesome. Maggie Smith did so brilliantly and McGonagall was everything I wanted right down to the tough exterior/heart of gold. Her line, "I've always wanted to do that spell," was just so darn cute. Ron and Hermione's kiss was exactly as it was supposed to be.

The plot would seem a bit confusing in parts to the eejits who have not read the books, as some things were not obvious. The Avada Kedavra/Expelliarmus battle near the end did not make it clear that Voldemort's own curse hit him and I disliked how he suddenly got psoriasis and vanished into thin air. I was expecting jubilation at that moment yet everyone just seemed to ignore Harry, despite the fact that he'd just killed Voldemort. Fred's death is perhaps one of the most impacting things for me in the books and I was disappointed it wasn't given more attention. I was expecting to bawl like a baby but my eyes only welled up as it was only given quite minimal attention. I know it's a fictional world but I feel so sorry for George. However I think the fleeting moment of the dead Lupin and Tonks was excellent.

I missed not having the Teddy Lupin involvement in the movie because I think that Harry being a godfather showed that he was growing up and that a new set of witches and wizards will always fill Hogwarts. I'm a fan of the epilogue in the book because I'm a sucker for happy endings yet it was just so weird and funny at the same time in the movie. When Harry approaches his death and turns the resurrection stone to see Lily, James, Sirius and Lupin was quite well done as was the Kings Cross scene with Dumbledore. Especially annoying was near the end when Harry snaps the Elder Wand before repairing his own. He's not going to use Malfoy's forever is he? That  needed to be in there.

There was more fine detail that was missed and probably some things that were added, but for me – it was excellent. Part 2 was everything I wanted it to be. Yes, they missed things, but that fact is overshadowed by the amount they didn’t miss. For a Harry Potter movie I was so bloody impressed and I will be seeing it many more times. I’ll probably notice more mistakes and pick holes in it and get sad that it’s over, but the magic of Harry Potter will live on forever.